Where are the Best Cities for Small Businesses?

Today, small business owners are always looking for a way to increase their profitability and potentially expand their companies, but some places are more conducive to this type of success than others, and as such, it might be wise for these people to examine their geographic options for starting such an enterprise.

Currently, it seems that Denver is the best city in the nation in which to start a small business, according to a new survey from the credit card comparison site Cardhub. Right now, the city has 97 percent of all its businesses categorized as being small, making up nine out of every 10 companies involved with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. In all, about 30 businesses per 1,000 residents have fewer than 250 workers. This is also beneficial for those who might want to work for these companies, because among major cities, its workforce is growing at the second-fastest rate in the nation, and wages for new employees came in at fifth-highest.

Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle and San Francisco rounded out the top five cities in the country in terms of the environment for small businesses, the report said. For Boston, the number of small businesses per capital, vitality of these companies, unemployment rate, disposable income levels and the number of hours worked were all among the top 10 nationwide despite the high cost of living in that city. Meanwhile, Minneapolis has a large number of small businesses per 1,000 residents and workers there spend very little time actually working, which lends itself to less stress in general.

Seattle was the second-best market for small business vitality and fifth in terms of small businesses per capita, while workers have a wider variety of industries in which to work, higher pay for new employees, and low unemployment rates, the report said. Finally, San Francisco's new initiative to encourage new companies, known as the Emerging Business Loan Fund, is helping many owners there achieve their goals, and workers are reaping the rewards through significant job growth and high wages.

Others didn't fare so well
Meanwhile, Detroit was considered the worst city nationwide in which to start a new business, the report said. This is largely due to the lingering effects of the recession, which brought it into the bottom 10 in the number of small businesses per capita (ninth), vitality (third), job growth (fourth), unemployment rate (second), earnings for new hires (10th), hours worked (seventh), and variety of industry (fifth). Three of the remaining four cities in the bottom five were located in California, with Riverside and Sacramento second and third, respectively, and San Diego fifth. Philadelphia came in fourth in this regard.

A number of other major cities fell somewhere in the middle, including a run of Texas cities at Nos. 6 through 8 (Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, respectively), the report said. Tampa, Miami and Orlando all finished in the top 12, New York City was No. 16, and Chicago was No. 24.

Small business owners looking to improve the state of their companies, and entrepreneurs who want to start new ventures, may want to consider the high cost of doing so regardless of which market they choose to operate in. These can include small business insurance policies that can have profound impacts on companies' bottom lines, including workers' compensation and liability insurance policies. Because these often have sizable price tags, owners – both current and prospective – should consider them before they undertake any plans to expand or start their companies .